Tuesday, 2 February 2021

Candlemas

I have to admit that this is a rehashing of a post from a couple of years ago..... but always worth another look, especially as I haven't much else to offer during this lockdown when I seem to the confined to the house every day with no excitement to report.

Today is February 2nd..... 40 days after Christmas. The ancient celebration of Candlemas.

Candlemas is a Christian holy day commemorating the Purification of Mary and the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple. Some Christian communities bring candles to church, where the candles are blessed and then used for the rest of the year.

In France and Belgium, crepes or thin pancakes are a traditional Candlemas treat. Each family member cooks a pancake while holding a coin in the other hand, thus ensuring wealth and happiness for the next year. The pancakes are round and golden in colour, and are a symbol of the return of spring sunshine after a cold winter.

In Mexico, the presentation of Jesus in the Temple is celebrated with family meals of tamales. Whoever finds the bean in the king-cake at Christmastime is responsible for cooking the Candlemas tamales for the whole family.

There's a theory that Candlemas derives from pagan celebrations as it occurs halfway between the December solstice and the March equinox, winter's halfway point while waiting for spring.

Many people believed that Candlemas Day predicted the weather for the rest of the winter. A bright sunny Candlemas meant more winter to come, and a cloudy wet stormy Candlemas meant that the worst of the winter was over. This is the basis for the February 2nd tradition of North America.... Groundhog Day. Will the groundhog see his shadow? I wonder.......

If Candlemas Day brings snow and rain,
Winter has gone, and won’t come again.
If Candlemas Day be clear and bright,
Winter will have another flight.

or another version....

If Candlemas Day be fair and bright
Winter will have another fight.
If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain,
Winter won't come again.

18 comments:

  1. Thank you. I knew the term Candlemas - but knew nothing about it.
    I do hope that you can get your vaccine and that your lockdowns lift. Soon.

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    1. I am hoping for the vaccine too, but it looks like it will be a long time arriving.

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  2. It is good to hear from you! We all pray this pandemic is over soon.

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  3. Okay to reuse a good post when it's still perfectly relevant! Good info there.

    There's still the ceremony of"churching" six weeks after childbirth, but I think it's infrequently done now. As a kid I remember seeing the occasional woman following the priest around the church, holding his stole, and praying together. My mother explained it was about purification, but she preferred to think of it as thanksgiving for a safe delivery, six weeks being long enough for the mother to recover and the baby well started in life.
    I agree the Feb 2 Feast of the Purification, is probably the early Church swiping the established celebration of Candlemas and adapting it. Like All Saints, Christmas etc.

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    1. I read about the "churching of women" ceremony in the Book of Common Prayer.

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  4. I had forgotten the meaning for Candlemas and even Groundhog day. Very interesting.
    Hope your lockdown is lifted soon.
    Sue

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    1. The Groundhog here indicated an early spring!

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  5. Let's hope things are going back to normal soon, Shammic.
    I hope we can get vaccines as soon as possible. I read of Ground hog day at my English class before. I miss the meaning of Ground hog in this buried difficult times...somehow.

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    1. I think going back to normal will take a long time, sadly! Even with the vaccine.

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  6. We're in lockdown until March, it's depressing. Vaccines, they say will be coming in the spring.

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    1. The same story here, no vaccines for a while, only for long term care home residents and caregivers at the moment. Take care, be happy!

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  7. Interesting to read about Candlemas which I had really known little about.

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  8. Is Candlemas like Shrove Tuesday or Pancake day? The 40 days thing intrigues me, as the Orthodox bury the dead by the third day, have a large family and invited friends dinner on the 9th day and another remembrance on the 40th day and again on the anniversary of the death. I believe Jesus fasted 40 days in the wilderness too and it rained on Noah's ark 40 days and nights.
    What is so magic about 40?

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    1. Good question.... maybe just a nice round figure? 30 days is too short, 50 is too long? I'll have to Google it!

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All comments welcome.... unless your name is Anonymous..